Thermond teaching English 10 instead of Creative Writing

September 1, 2017 — by Sanjana Melkote and Krithi Sankar

Drama teacher utilizes interest in drama to teach english. 

Asked why she decided to teach English 10 this year along with manage the drama classes and extracurricular productions that make up the SHS theater program, teacher Sarah Thermond said, “If we are talking about anything that surrounds artistic storytelling, I’m on it!”

Although she predominantly teaches drama, she has also taught Creative Writing and English 10 in her past six years at the school.

Thermond’s major in comparative literature allows her to teach English-based classes, from electives to core-curriculum, as her area of expertise lies in the analysis and critical theory of literature and artistic forms like film, poetry and theater.

This year, Thermond is teaching four sections of drama and one section of English 10.

According to Thermond, her switch from Creative Writing to English 10 resulted from a lack of enrollment in the elective as well as a large sophomore class, which requires “all hands on deck in terms of experienced English 10 teachers.”

Thermond hopes to offer Creative Writing every other year, allowing demand for the class to grow during the off years.

For Thermond, teaching different subjects provides a refreshing variety in the school day.

“If something starts to feel stale, like I’ve done one lesson too many times, I know that I will be teaching something new in my next class,” she said.

Teaching two different subjects also keeps Thermond on her feet as she is constantly moving between the drama room — an open, less conventional classroom setting — to her more traditional English classroom.

Additionally, Thermond’s various teaching experiences across different courses have helped her adapt to new classes. She has found that  some of her lessons are interchangeable between subjects.

“I invented a creative writing exercise to help students review the different parts of story structure, and when I gave it to my English 10 class, they seemed to be really entertained while understanding the concept,” Thermond said. “It’s nice knowing that something I concocted for an elective class can easily clarify things for any English class.”

Former drama student and current English 10 student Jayati Reddy has enjoyed Thermond’s style of teaching.

“She’s a very confident teacher and creates an environment where more quiet kids are eager to talk,” Reddy said. “She gives us so many ideas about stories and angles to different topics so that when we come to class, we have a lot of material to work with; she doesn’t leave you empty handed and expect you to come up with everything on your own.”

While drama has always been part of her schedule, Thermond is grateful for the opportunity to teach English.

“I really like teaching English 10 because it’s where we’re able to dig deep into analyzing literature and how to create compelling arguments about a work of fiction through non-fiction writing,” Thermond said.

 
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